Financial Support in Motion for Legal Battles on Multiple Fronts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 10, 2020
Jason Brandt, President & CEO, ORLA
503.302.5060 | JBrandt@OregonRLA.org
Wilsonville, OR – The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association has officially launched a Legal Defense Fund as authorized by the state association’s Board of Directors. The fund will be used to address multiple inequities facing Oregon’s restaurant and lodging establishments in their quest to survive the ongoing pandemic.
“Operators from all corners of the state have reached their breaking point and have asked for continued legal support to fight for their rights,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “There is a growing list of inequities facing Oregon’s hospitality industry that require additional judicial oversight.”
Tens of thousands of hospitality businesses have permanently closed across the country due to government mandates including hundreds in Oregon. “Local and state government in Oregon over the past year have taken away business operations for public purposes,” said Brandt. “Small businesses across the state are owed compensation whether we’re talking about taking a dining room for virus mitigation or taking an entire lodging location for a certain duration of time.”
Operators across the state are also growing more frustrated by a lack of adjustment to taxes and fees that fail to consider the operational reality of the year 2020. Examples include exponential increases in unemployment insurance tax rates for 2021 and beyond, county health inspection fees based on the number of dining room seats in your establishment, and licenses for on-premises alcohol consumption.
“There are some local governments in Oregon deserving of recognition for the ways they have provided historic flexibility to operators,” said Brandt. “We need to build on that awareness within our government institutions to illustrate the severity of the situation. No operator should have to pay exponential increases in their unemployment insurance rates or normal costs for county health inspections or on-premises alcohol consumption licenses as if 2020 was another normal year of operation.”
ORLA’s Legal Defense Fund will provide financial support to operators interested in moving forward as plaintiffs in court. Lawsuits filed will be unique in nature and dependent on the circumstances facing operators with a focus on government restrictions causing a hospitality business location to close permanently.
“There will be those that argue these businesses would have had to close anyway due to the impacts of COVID-19 on consumer demand,” said Brandt. “We can prove that is simply not the case. Financial proof of the direct impact of government restrictions outside of consumer demand is widely available to us and will be shared with the courts as we fight for the survival of Oregon small businesses and the tens of thousands of Oregonian jobs within them.”
For more information on the efforts of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association please visit OregonRLA.org.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which before COVID-19 provided over 180,000 paychecks to working Oregonians. Currently, approximately 55,000 of those workers, or 30%, do not have work available to return to.
To donate to the Legal Defense Fund, click here: